Thursday, December 18, 2008

Digital Asset Management (DAM)

I've recently started organizing my photo's more formally, on the one hand for my personal collection, on the other for professional aspirations. I have about 15,000 photos in my collection dating back to 2002 digitally, and digital scans of film. The mountain of information I had and have ahead of me can be quite intimidating, but I found a few great resources that's made my job easier, or at least helped break the monumental task into manageable steps. Adobe Lightroom - I originally had my files organized by Picasa, but with the limited transferability and flexibility of that program for rating (only one star), tagging, keywording, and entering other meta data I needed something more robust.

Books & Articles

The DAM Book: Digital Asset Management for Photographers, by Peter Krogh, has been a great resource for me in organizing my photos and getting some ideas of where to start. Although written with Adobe Bridge and Photoshop in mind, many of the tips and concepts can be applied to any DAM system.

I also came across this article by Eric Scouten about organizing your lightroom catalogue that's worth read.

After implementing the "bucket" system recommended by Peter, I've found the easiest way to keep track of my progress is doing a screen print using a screen capture tool and recording on those sheets what I've done to each folder. For example, if I rate, keyword, and at location information to the IPTC tags of all the images in a certain folder, I'll note that as I go along.

It'll be a long road of organizing, rating, keywording, etc. to go, but when it's all done my catalogue will be better for it. What are your thoughts on Digital Asset Management and how do you keep your photos organized?

Sunday, December 7, 2008

10,000 Hours

I got this idea after reading one of Chase Jarvis' posts here. It talks about how to "make it" as a photographer and some of the requirements to get there. The simple two-part answer...

1.) Be undeniably good - Be so good they can't ignore you

2.) Dedicate at least 10,000 hours to whatever it is you're looking to master

The second point is what I'm trying to track - not that after exactly 10,000 hours I'll be a master, maybe far from it or maybe I can settle at 8,000 hours and call myself a "pro". The point is that it'll be some sort of metric to how I'm moving along.

Historically speaking, I can't really nail down how many hours I've spent becoming a master, but over say the past 10 years through workshops, gereral interest, and varoius 'learning' I'll put meyself down for 2,000 hours - just to start somewhere, and feel good that I'm 20% there.

So on the extreme side, I could work 10 hrs a day and be a "master" in just over two years. More realistically, while still having a day job, working on photography say 20 hrs a week, I'll be a "master" in just under eight years. With the ability and drive to spend more time each year on photography as I progress, my time to becoming a pro seems to be somewhere between 2 and 8 years.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Calgary At Night

One of the joys of living in Calgary is the cold winter and short
daylight hours...wait that doesn't sound right. But it does get
darker earlier this time of year which makes it easier to capture some
night photography right after work - if you're willing to brave the
cold. I tried my hand at some night shots of the city from Nose Hill
park, although the wind picked up a so my tripod was shaking a bit
during exposures.

This last photo took my 18mm up to 55mm over 4 seconds in a zoom burst.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Getting Back to Morocco

I'm finally getting my files more organized and have migrated to Lightroom 2.0 for this process. This process has many many steps, especially when going back to files originally on film. I'll be creating more detailed posts on my digital asset management (DAM) process, but during one of these steps I went back to 2003 for a while, organizing my photos from Morocco. Below are a few favorites.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Around the World in Black & White

I've been using Picasa for a while now, but only now have I used the portable slideshow function. The site makes it pretty easy to present a number of photos for viewing in any website. Below are a number of photos from some of my travels. All in black and white (hence the title of this post), and all geotagged - although you'll have to venture over to the Picasa Web Albums site to see them on a map.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Salt Harvesting in Bolivia

The salt flats in Bolvia stretch for miles, and only a small portion is actually used for salt harvesting. None of the salt leaves Bolivia and is only used for local consumption. It is first scraped into piles (top left), then brought outside the oven (bottom left) to dry a bit more before going to the oven area (top right).

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Abstract Patterns

I tend to take a lot of pictures of patterns - sometimes inadvertently, sometimes on purpose.  And when I say 'Abstract' in this sense it's not to such a degree that the actual subject is illegible, just not the main focus of the photo if you're looking at it a certain way.
Picture Descriptions:
Door Rivets (Rabat, Morocco)
Wooden Chairs (Sharon Temple, Ontario)
Cafe Tables (Salamanca, Spain)

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Vacouver Island in Black & White

Some of these pictures might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Vancouver Island, or the town of Sidney to be specific.  I had the opportunity to be in Sydney for a couple weeks through my day job and tried to get a bit of different viewpoint on the world around this sleepy little town by Victoria.  All these images were taken in colour, but after sorting through a few of them, I thought these ones looked good, if not better in black and white.
Sailboats (Sidney, BC)
Rusty Old Car (Sidney, BC)
Padlock (Sidney, BC)
Old Cheetah Tank Tread (Sidney, BC)

Saturday, August 23, 2008

HD Video to Photosynth?

Some exciting news came along the other day, abut Photosynth.  They've now made it possible to upload and create your own "synths".  If you're curious about what this software can do, check out this excellent video by Blaise Aguera y Arcas on the website.  One key issue I'm wondering about is the possibility to merge this technology with HD Video.  I don't see why you couldn't develop something that extracts the high definition frames from the video, maybe taking every 10th frame, and creating a 3-D model in Photosynth from say a short video around a house, or a long video through a city (similar to street view, but with way more potential for detail).  You could even zoom in on certain details. 
Although I don't have any HD video equipment, I'd like to try it with the simple video function on most point and shoot cameras.  Check back soon to see how this little (or big) project turns out.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Theme: Night Photography

We'll start this photo blog off by including my heading picture within the theme: Night Photography. I've been into night photography for a while and the shots above were taken several years apart, from 2002 to 2008. The only one taken with a digital SLR (Nikon D80) is the lightning photo.

Lightning Photo (Calgary, Alberta) - This turned out to be at the right place at the right time, with the storm far enough away not to get any rain, a nice vantage point north of Calgary's Downtown, and a tiny tripod (no idea) for shutter speeds up to 30 seconds.

Mary-Go-Round (Leeds, UK) - Taken with a point and shoot, one of the favorite parts of this photo for me is the 1.50 price still visible in the centre.

Night Market (Marrakech, Morocco) - All I can say about this picture is that I think this is the stall that made me sick for the next week on that trip.

Plaza Mayor (Salamanca, Spain) - One of my favorite and earliest night shots, leaning against a column with my point and shoot, it turned out pretty well - showing the movement of the people.